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BREAKING: Levesque found not guilty

The charges of obstruction of justice and breach of trust against Thunder Bay police chief, J.P. Levesque were dismissed by regional superior judge.
Levesque Court

THUNDER BAY – Thunder Bay Police chief, J.P. Levesque has been found not guilty of obstruction of justice and breach of trust. 

Regional senior justice, Bonnie Warkentin, dismissed the charges against Levesque in a Thunder Bay courtroom on Thursday.

The courtroom erupted in applause from family members and supporters of Levesque after the verdict was read. 

Warkentin said the crown did not prove beyond reasonable doubt that Levesque intended to interfere with a possible extortion investigation into Thunder Bay mayor Keith Hobbs and acted within his discretion as chief of police. 

Levesque, 53, was first charged by the Ontario Provincial Police with obstruction of justice and breach of trust last May and was placed on administrative suspension by the Thunder Bay Police Services Board following the charges.

It was revealed during the six-day trial, which began on Dec. 4, that Levesque informed Thunder Bay mayor, Keith Hobbs, in December 2016 that he was the focus of an RCMP investigation after an informant came forward alleging Hobbs attempted to extort Alexander Zaitzeff into purchasing a house for Mary Voss.

Several witnesses testified during the trial, including acting Thunder Bay Police chief, Sylvie Hauth, who told the court that Levesque informed Hobbs of the investigation to protect her. Believing Hobbs would learn of the investigation, Levesque, who was preparing to leave on an already scheduled vacation, did not want to leave Hauth, who was entering the role as deputy chief, to deal with the situation on her own. 

Levesque testified Hobbs could be difficult and unpredictable and he informed him of the investigation to manage the risk of the information becoming public while Thunder Bay Police decided to investigate the allegations against Hobbs or pass it on to OPP.

Levesque’s attorneys, Brian Gover and Frederick Schuman, argued Levesque’s decision was the best one based on the unique circumstances of the situation and that he acted within his discretion as chief of police. They also pointed to Levesque’s character as trustworthy and honest, based on testimony from several witnesses.

Counsel for the prosecution, Jason Nicol, argued Levesque attempted to interfere with the investigation by tipping off Hobbs and that the relationship between the two was more than “just a professional relationship.”

This is a breaking story and will be updated when more information becomes available. 

Doug Diaczuk

About the Author: Doug Diaczuk

Doug Diaczuk is a reporter and award-winning author from Thunder Bay. He has a master’s degree in English from Lakehead University
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